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Library Director Addresses Congressional Staff

Library Director MaryEllen Firestone Addressed Congressional Staff on How Library Helps Jobseekers and Business Owners.

East Brunswick Public Library Director MaryEllen Firestone recently attended a Congressional staff briefing to discuss the role libraries play in supporting job seekers and business owners.

During her presentation, she discussed the library’s Business Resource Center and the support it lends to not only business owners and entrepreneurs, but to job seekers.

“I think many business owners and job seekers are not aware of the plethora of services that our library has to offer--materials for starting a business, courses on how to value a business, how to become a consultant, databases that give industry overviews and specific data on companies and businesses that are growing,” said Firestone. “Jobseekers would be happy to learn about our one-on-one services to prepare a resume and practice interviewing skills.”

Firestone’s visit was organized by the Institute of Museum and Library Services at the request of U.S. Rep. Rush Holt. Firestone was part of a panel that included Jane Brady, Director of the Middlesex County Office of Workforce Development & Workforce Investment Board, Linda Carlisle, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and Kevin Perez from the Mid York Library System. The briefing also focused on how WIB’s, America’s Job Centers/One-Stops, can partner more closely with libraries to aid job seekers; how museums support workforce development; and sharing with congressional staff successful models, best practices and success stories from New Jersey and North Carolina.

“At a time when many people pay lip service to helping the unemployed find work, MaryEllen walks the walk,” said Rep. Holt. “She realized years ago that the East Brunswick Public Library could provide a welcoming place for people to get information about jobs, job skills training and how to start a business.  The Business Resource Center has been a real success because it packages services that small business owners and job seekers need.  I’m delighted that she has come to Congress to share her experiences helping businesses and individuals in East Brunswick, and I hope her visit will build support for my legislation to expand similar programs to libraries across the country.”

During her visit, Firestone focused on the library’s Business Resource Center, which was started to support small business owners in Middlesex County.  Since small businesses are the engines that drive our economy, it made sense to offer services that would help businesses thrive and grow, thereby helping job seekers as well.  Firestone explained how libraries have always helped the unemployed but now more targeted services could be introduced through the Business Resource Center.

“The BRC is here to put courses and services in place as the demand arises and that is the strength of this initiative,” said Firestone. “The Congressional staff briefing was a wonderful opportunity to highlight the Business Resource Center and show how libraries are preparing our customers for the economy of the 21st century,” she said.

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